Contributor: Alexander Teh
“…we remind ourselves and everyone around us of the meaning of Pride: to celebrate our diversities and achievements, to support each other in our community, and to continue to resist simply by existing and being ourselves.”Alexander Teh, Oogachaga
2020 marked the start of a new decade, and along with it came many challenges, particularly with the global Covid-19 pandemic. Oogachaga saw increased demand for our counselling services, making it our busiest year yet.
With restrictions on the running of physical events and programmes, we took the opportunity to reach out to a very important and vulnerable part of the community — LGBTQ+ youth.
Kopi/ Teh Hangout for LGBTQ+ Youth
Following our community survey, Oogachaga Needs YOUth, conducted in August 2020, which highlighted the issues faced by LGBTQ+ youth aged 16-29, Oogachaga has launched a youth programme.
A key component of this is monthly sessions called “Kopi/ Teh” (our local terms for coffee and tea) Hangout, which provides a safe, online space for youth to mingle and have conversations about topics that are important to them. On average, each session attracts 30 to 40 participants.
Visibility of LGBTQ+ Issues in Local Media
Mainstream media in Singapore is not known to be the most affirming platform for LGBTQ+ individuals, who are often misrepresented, portrayed negatively, and have positive depictions of our community censored.
In the past few years, there has been some effort put into understanding the LGBTQ+ community in local media. In recent months, this has included transgender persons too.
Oogachaga continues to use our voice to highlight issues faced by transgender individuals in Singapore, by writing a letter which was published in a national newspaper; supporting a petition to the Ministry of Education to implement policies against discrimination of transgender students in schools; sharing a staff member’s experiences of discrimination and calling for the right to a safe school environment for transgender students; speaking out against using the rights of the transgender community to denounce “woke” culture; and talking about the inaccessibility s to hormone replacement therapy for transgender youth.
LGBTQ+ Issues at Singapore’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR)
Last year, Oogachaga partnered with Pink Dot SG for a joint stakeholder submission, leading up to the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Singapore at the United Nations Human Rights Council on 12 May 2021. The report detailed key human rights issues impacting the LGBTQ+ community.
Pride: Celebrating, Supporting, Resisting
To mark Pride Month in June, we’re proud to be a supporting partner of Pink Fest, and will be organising 2 online events: a queer-friendly art jam; and the launch of our guide for parents of transgender children.
As Singapore’s most established LGBTQ+ community organisation, we remind ourselves and everyone around us of the meaning of Pride: to celebrate our diversities and achievements, to support each other in our community, and to continue to resist simply by existing and being ourselves.